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AGERE SYSTEMS LAUNCHES WORLD'S FASTEST NETWORK PROCESSOR.



Agere Systems Agere Systems Inc. was an integrated circuit components company based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, in the United States. Effective April 2, 2007, it was merged into LSI Corporation.  (NYSE NYSE

See: New York Stock Exchange
:AGR AGR advanced gas-cooled reactor .A)(NYSE:AGR.B) has launched the world's fastest network processor that integrates four separate chips into one. This next generation network processor, called the PayloadPlus APP540, makes possible revolutionary improvements in product development costs, service revenue capabilities, and reliability of communications network The transmission channels interconnecting all client and server stations as well as all supporting hardware and software.  equipment for the next several years. Agere's new chip can reduce product development costs -- a critical metric in the current cash-constrained market -- by at least 50 percent compared with the nearest contending chips.

Korea-based Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI ETRI Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (Korea)
ETRI Enhanced Threat Reduction Initiative
ETRI Electronics Telecommunication Research Inc.
), a technology research and development organization, has selected Agere's new APP540 network processor as the key engine for creating Korea Telecom's country-wide next generation network. ETRI, which has a long-standing relationship with Agere, has been instrumental in enabling Korea to achieve the highest percentage of broadband connections to citizens of any country in the world.

Agere's key technical breakthrough centers on integrating four separate devices -- programmable traffic manager, multi-field classifier search engine, network processor, and Ethernet media access controller (MAC) -- into a single device capable of processing information at speeds of 5 gigabits per second (Gbits/s). Competing products require at least two chips, and in several cases three or more, to perform these four different functions at comparable speeds. Using fewer chips decreases electronics costs, power consumption, and equipment size, as well as increases reliability.

Classification, traffic management, and network processing function like three different traffic police officers working in unison with separate yet inter-dependent functions. The classifier determines what should be done with the voice, data, or video information entering communications equipment. The network processor obeys processing and forwarding directions the classifier gives it. Robust traffic management helps control the flow of information exiting the network processor to most efficiently use the available bandwidth. Robust traffic management, which supports true bandwidth and delay guarantees to 8,192 queues or more of individually scheduled streams of traffic, is important to support high-value service-level agreements for telecom carriers. The Ethernet MAC allows direct connection to Ethernet, the world's most popular form of data communications data communications, application of telecommunications technology to the problem of transmitting data, especially to, from, or between computers. In popular usage, it is said that data communications make it possible for one computer to "talk" with another. .

Roughly one-fourth the size of a credit card, Agere's APP540 chip is part of Agere's growing family of integrated Payload Plus network processors, traffic management and system software solutions used in communications equipment platforms. The PayloadPlus family has been selected for use in more than 70 system designs, more than half of which are top-tier manufacturers of communications equipment. In the multi-service equipment chip business, Agere possesses greater than 50 percent market share of the top-tier customers.

"Now more than ever, the communications equipment and service markets care about reducing capital and operations costs, rapidly and easily deploying new revenue generating services, and offering quick, simple, and flexible access to services over current and future networks," said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst with The Linley Group, a California-based semiconductor technology research company. "Agere's new highly integrated solution offers substantial cost reduction and programmability benefits that will maximize the value service providers can extract from their network investments.

"Agere is a leader in traffic management, having developed several generations of successful products," Gwennap added. "This technology puts the company in a strong position as traffic management becomes integrated into the network processor."

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 Ryan, Hankin, and Kent, a market research company, Agere ranks first in the world in sales of traffic management chips. "Building chips that do network processing but not traffic management is like building a road system without traffic signals such as stoplights and yield signs," said John Rolfe This article is about the Virginia colonist. For other uses, see John Rolfe. John Rolfe (c. 1585 – 1622) was one of the early English settlers of North America. , marketing manager with Agere Systems.

"Recognizing the challenging environment in the communications market, Agere has been investing in advanced system chips targeted at platforms that can be consolidated and re-used across various equipment," said Mark Pinto pinto

Spotted horse, also called paint, piebald, skewbald, and other terms to describe variations in colour and markings. The American Indian ponies of the western U.S. were often pintos. Most pure-breed associations refuse to register horses with pinto colouring.
, vice president of Agere's network processor business. "Our customers keep coming back to us with the same messages: cost reduction, multi-service revenue generation, and better reliability -- all provided in fewer and more flexible platforms. That's what this new integrated chip is all about."

Agere's PayloadPlus chips are used in various types of corporate office building and telecommunications central office equipment. Such equipment includes multi-service provisioning platforms and switches, routers, data center switches, 2.5-generation and third-generation wireless equipment, Ethernet over Synchronous Optical Network (networking) Synchronous Optical NETwork - (SONET) A broadband networking standard based on point-to-point optical fibre networks. SONET will provide a high-bandwidth "pipe" to support ATM-based services.  (SONET) /Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) The European counterpart to SONET. See SONET.

SDH - Synchronous Digital Hierarchy
) add/drop multiplexers, and SONET transmission systems.

"There is some ambiguity in the industry around what exactly is a network processor," said Agere's Pinto. "Some think it's a general purpose micro processor with networking interfaces and large data buffers. Some call it a look-up engine. Others a traffic manager. Still others consider it a segmentation and reassembly segmentation and reassembly - segmentation  controller engine. Agere Systems believes network processors require the interworking (standard) interworking - Systems or components, possibly from different origins, working together to perform some task. Interworking depends crucially on standards to define the interfaces between the components.  of all of the above, as embodied in the single chip APP540.

"As an alternative, the industry could define the collection of chips, that perform traffic management, classification, and other network processor functions, required in a given system as traffic processors," Pinto added. "Because that's what the chips do, process traffic. The APP500 family offers the full range of these functions in single chips, thereby lowering development costs, power and size of equipment."

Agere's APP540 chip uses external dynamic random access memory Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. Since real capacitors leak charge, the information eventually fades unless the capacitor charge is refreshed periodically.  (DRAM) chips to house classification tables and rules. Competitors use content addressable memory See CAM.

content addressable memory - (CAM, or "associative memory") A kind of storage device which includes comparison logic with each bit of storage. A data value is broadcast to all words of storage and compared with the values there.
 (CAM) or static random access memory Static random access memory (SRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory. The word "static" indicates that the memory retains its contents as long as power remains applied, unlike dynamic RAM (DRAM) that needs to be periodically refreshed (nevertheless, SRAM should not be confused with  (SRAM See static RAM.

SRAM - static random-access memory
) chips. In a cost per information bit comparison, CAMs are more than 100 times more expensive and consume more power than DRAMs. Agere didn't just integrate four devices and memory on a single chip. Rather, it developed an architecture that takes advantage of all the various functions and inter-dependencies of those functions onto a single device.

As part of Agere's broad portfolio of network processor-based solutions, Agere also provides a high-level, application-oriented software programming environment. This environment, which can reduce both the complexity and size of software code required by a factor of 25 or more, is included in Agere's Festino comprehensive hardware and software development platform. Equipment makers using Festino can deliver their product to market several months faster and accomplish in days what would normally take them months using alternative technologies. Furthermore, the reduction in software complexity and size can save millions of dollars in software-related costs over the life of the equipment.

Agere Systems is also introducing the PayloadPlus APP520 chip, which is essentially the same device as the APP540 yet targeted at lower-cost applications. Agere's two new chips are completely designed and ready for manufacturing now. In quantities of 10,000, the chips are priced at $295 and $195 respectively.

Agere Systems is a premier provider of advanced integrated circuit integrated circuit (IC), electronic circuit built on a semiconductor substrate, usually one of single-crystal silicon. The circuit, often called a chip, is packaged in a hermetically sealed case or a nonhermetic plastic capsule, with leads extending from it for  solutions that access, move and store network information. Agere's access portfolio enables seamless network access and Internet connectivity through its WiFi/802.11 solutions for wireless LANs and computing applications, as well as its GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) The first high-speed digital data service provided by cellular carriers that used the GSM technology. GPRS added a packet-switched channel to GSM, which uses dedicated, circuit-switched channels for voice conversations.  offering for data-capable cellular phones. The company also provides custom and standard multi-service networking solutions, such as broadband Ethernet-over- SONET/SDH components and wireless infrastructure chips, to move information across metro, access and enterprise networks. Agere is a provider of integrated circuits Integrated circuits

Miniature electronic circuits produced within and upon a single semiconductor crystal, usually silicon. Integrated circuits range in complexity from simple logic circuits and amplifiers, about 1/20 in. (1.
 such as read-channel chips, preamplifiers and system-on-a-chip solutions for high-density storage applications. Agere's customers include the leading PC manufacturers, wireless terminal providers, network equipment suppliers and hard-disk drive providers.

Agere Systems can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.agere.com/.

For more information, call 800/372-2447 or 610/712-1728.
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Title Annotation:Agere Systems' PayloadPlus APP540
Publication:Networks Update
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:1218
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